About 87 percent of land in Alaska is public. It provides ample opportunity for recreation and habitat for wildlife. But it also stirs debates on how the land should be used.
Kachemak Bay State Park outside Homer has over 400,000 acres full of hiking trails, beaches, fishing holes, paddling routes, and other adventures.
Denali State Park’s Kesugi Ridge with the Alaska Range in the distance. Photo by Bill Sherwonit. More than once, while perched on a high mountain ridge above Anchorage and surrounded by a wilderness landscape of peaks and valleys that extend to the horizon and beyond, friends and I have agreed: if this were anywhere else in the United States, we’d be standing in a national park. But here along the edges of Alaska’s largest city, we’re blessed to be part of a half-million-acre wildland that’s among the grandest pieces of an unparalleled state park system that this year marks its 50th anniversary. And what a system it is: established in 1970, Alaska’s Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation now encompasses more than 3.3 million acres, spread across nearly 160 units from the state’s Panhandle to its Southwest and Interior regions. Those units include recreation areas, historic sites, trails, and more;…
(from the February 2012 issue)